Corporate Name: Woodbine Entertainment Group
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 156, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5L2
Street Address: 555 Rexdale Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5L2 (click for map)
Telephone: (416) 675-7223
Fax: Main Office: (416) 213-2129; Executive Offices: (416) 213-2126; Media Relations Office: (416) 213-2122;
Racing Office: (416) 213-2128
Woodbine Entertainment Group, which owns and operates Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Raceway in Ontario, Canada, is respected throughout North America, Europe and the Far East as one of the most innovative organizations in racing. As the successor to the Ontario Jockey Club, Woodbine Entertainment Group inherited the history and tradition of one of North America’s oldest and largest sports organizations, employing close to 3,000 people in southern Ontario.
Woodbine became the focus of the racing world on Saturday, October 26, 1996. For the first time, the Breeders’ Cup was held outside of the U.S. and never looked better. A record 42,243 racing fans, a worldwide NBC television audience and a North American-record 875 simulcast and off-track betting locations witnessed the beauty of Canada’s most famous racetrack. Total wagering on the seven Breeders’ Cup races was $67,738,890.
Woodbine is home to The Queen’s Plate, the Pattison Canadian International and the Ricoh Woodbine Mile. Inaugurated in 1860, the Queen’s Plate is North America’s oldest continuously run stakes race. The Queen’s Plate is the only race in North America which enjoys the approval and a prize from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to those premier stakes events, Woodbine hosts the Breeders’ Stakes, the third and final gem in Canada’s Triple Crown of Racing. Stronach Stables’ Shaman Ghost edged Danish Dynaformer in the 156th edition of the 1¼-mile Queen’s Plate in July.
The original Woodbine opened in 1874 on the then far-eastern outskirts of Toronto, which is now virtually downtown. The name of the original track was changed to Old Woodbine in 1956 and became Greenwood in the spring of 1963. Live racing ceased at Greenwood in 1993.
The present Woodbine has undergone several multi-million dollar expansions and upgrades, including a 56,000 square foot gaming area which accommodates nearly 3,000 slot machines. An 18,000 square foot addition to the gaming area was opened in May 2011. The track is situated on 700 acres on the outskirts of Toronto, just minutes from Lester B. Pearson International Airport and the “airport strip” of modern hotels.
Secretariat, who raced for the last time at Woodbine in the Canadian International, started a parade of Eclipse champions who have performed on the grass here. French champion Dahlia, Snow Knight, who raced in the colors of Edward P. Taylor’s Windfields Farm, Youth, Mac Diarmida, Singspiel, Chief Bearhart, and Leroidesanimaux parlayed Woodbine victories into Eclipse Awards as turf champion. All Along, the first winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to race at Woodbine, did even better in Eclipse Award voting and also won Horse of the Year. In 2012 and 2013, Wise Dan was the stunning back-to-back winner of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile en route to consecutive multiple Eclipse Award titles including Horse of the Year.
The Ontario Jockey Club was licensed on May 5, 1881, to “revive racing in Toronto under respectable auspices and make a success of it.” The OJC recognized the need for, and helped develop, the technology for a pari-mutuel system which is now in use at every major pari-mutuel track.
The OJC also introduced simulcast wagering in North America in 1980, when live Thoroughbred racing from Fort Erie was beamed back to Woodbine, where fans watched the races on closed circuit. This led to an off-track betting system that evolved from one teletheatre named Champions in 1993 to the current 28 locations and a state-of-the-art, theater-style teletheatre at the former Greenwood Racetrack location.
In 1994, Woodbine became the “Racetrack of the Future,” when OJC implemented bold new plans to make Woodbine a track for all seasons for Thoroughbred and harness horses. Woodbine’s 7-furlong inner turf course was converted to a 7/8-mile harness racing surface and the 1‑mile dirt track was completely rebuilt, ensuring one of the safest surfaces in all of racing. Woodbine serves as the only racetrack in North America to conduct races for both breeds on the same day. In addition, the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, the only complete 1½-mile grass surface in North America situated immediately in front of the grandstand, was unveiled in September of that year.
In early 2004, Woodbine announced the launch of HPIBET.com, the first web site in Canada to legally offer internet wagering to its fans. In late 2004, Woodbine opened the WEGZ Stadium Bar in Vaughan, north of Toronto. The facility holds 800 guests and offers a cutting-edge viewing and sound experience.
In place for the start of the 2016 season, Tapeta was installed as Woodbine’s main racing strip replacing Polytrack.
Officers: Jim Lawson, CEO; Sean Pinsonneault, Executive Vice President, Strategy & Wagering; Jamie Martin, Executive Vice President, Racing; Bill Ford, Vice President & General Counsel; Joe Aschaiek, Senior Vice President, Finance; Tania Caza, Senior Vice President, Human Resources; Garth Essery, Vice President, Property Development; Paul Lawson, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications